Large increase in people moving away from Iceland

samskipIcelandic shipping company Samskip says its transport of personal household effects from Iceland has increased by 20 percent in 2009 compared to the first part of last year.

At the same time the transport of goods to Iceland has decreased by 40 to 50 percent, Palmar Oli Magnusson, International Department leader at Samskip told Morgunbladid.

“The slowdown has been severe since this time last year. We are sailing to Reykjavik with only one ship a week now, but we sailed two per week until last autumn,” Magnusson said.

Asked whether the slowdown in business has caused layoffs, Magnusson said that Samskip has indeed started reducing its workforce over the last year. “But it hasn’t been in any big way, no mass layoffs, and none over recent months,” he added.

Although the ship Helgafell arrived in Reykjavik fully loaded this week, Magnusson says that cannot be taken as a strong sign that imports are increasing again long term.

“It is a seasonal shift; we have often seen similar increases at this time of year. There are more imports in the spring than at the beginning of the year,” Magnusson said to – adding that volumes of exports from Iceland remain comparable to recent years. Among that export figure is the furniture and possessions of people moving abroad to try their luck elsewhere.

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